The Powerful Families of New Capenna: Mechanic Speculation

Much like the colleges of Strixhaven reskinning the enemy dual colors, the families of New Capenna give us a new slant on some of the shard color combos. The color wheel with all of its myriad of combinations can be interpreted in so many ways. One world may see Grixis with undead armies while others translate it through the eyes of old school demon mobsters. That’s what we have here; a reskinning of the tri-color sets last seen as shards of ALARA.

But the powerful families of New Capenna give us a whole new version of Bant, Grixis, Jund, Naya and Esper.

Warning: this a speculation that came out before the big reveal. The actual mechanics have been spoiled and will appear in an article of its own. Come see how well we did.


XANDER, head of the Maestros; a demon vampire (a leathal combo)

The Maestros are the class and style of New Capenna. It’s not always what you do, but how well you look doing it. But don’t let the pomp and circumstance fool you. They are as dangerous as they are fashionable. They are represented by the colors blue, black and red, formerly known as Grixis. They are centered on black for good reason. They are the most dangerous family in terms of hardened assassins and artful removal. Removal is the key, actually. With black and red in the mix, death and destruction follow. And it also resonates in New Capenna.

The Maestros Charm is a playbook of each color represented. For blue, you get to peruse the top 5 cards of your deck and pull one to your hand and one to your graveyard. Does this mean there will also be return cards to go after things in your graveyard? This represents blue and the knowledge portion of the color combo.

For black, you have more lose life/gain life and, for red, 5 damage to a creature of planeswalker for only a three drop! But you will have to chose!

Grixis is a study in power of self and survival. How far are you willing to go to get what you want? And The Maestros take this to a new level. Instead of raising hoards of undead armies from your graveyard, you have a different type of monster to deal with. Their leader and a good many of their leadership are old school vampires; making them the most dangerous predators. ‘Removing’ their opposition or even Sacrificing their own if necessary is all a part of their modus operandi.

The spoiled commander for the Maestros, Lord Xander, the Collector, may give us a bit more insight into what Wotc is doing with the Maestros.

Just entering the battlefield causes your opponent to discard half their hand. Attacking mills half their library. And, even when removed from play, dying causes your opponent to sacrifice half their nonland permanents. Whatever it does, it makes your opponent pay.

So, like the charm shown above, expect some amazing removal and a venture into sacrifice which is long overdue!


Raffine, the demon sphynx head of the Obscura family

The powerful Obscura family descended from wizards, mystics and other advisors of the angels. Now they manipulate the outcome of the goings-on in New Capenna. They are represented by the colors white, blue and black. But centering on blue means, first and foremost, information and knowledge are king. The Extractors scour the streets and minds of others to find the info needed to drive things their way. With blue and black in the mix, you would expect a surveil aspect to this group. And there is. Echo Readers, much like the mystics of the twenties (American gangster lore for which this set is based on) who peer into past events to inform the present.

But, if you think this information gathering is just for cataloging, well you’re sadly mistaken. Oh, no, these manipulators and decievers are drawing in knowledge to destroy their enemies and keep them one step ahead of all other families.

ESPER is the color of holding absolute control of all aspects of the game. For the knowledge, we have card draw represented by blue. For control, we will see the darkside of White’s absolute stranglehold on a game. Expect wizards and illusions as well.

We see in the card Obscura Charm the full sway of blue and black while white takes a back seat. With black, we have a return mechanic straight to the battlefield. Blue’s control is shown in a counter. And destruction of weaker creatures or planeswalkers further emphasizes black.

Only seen on the Raffine commander card, Connive is introduced as a new mechanic for New Capenna. Conniving consists of drawing a certain number of cards (laid out on the individual cards), discarding the same number of cards and, then putting a +1/+1 counter on THAT creature for each ‘nonland card discarded this way’.

What a way to incorporate card draw and counter addition! Creative, original and, all according to the individual circumstances of the cards, could be some real jankable moments!


Falco Spara, Aven leader of the Brokers

The BROKERS are the lawyers of New Capenna. The devil really is in the details with them. Much like the devils of D&D, contracts are king and there is no breaking them. They are represented by the colors white, blue and green, formerly known as BANT. They are centered in white, however, since it’s more about control and order for them.

BANT is harmony through control. Unlike Bant of days past, the Brokers wage war in a different way; through the mounds of contracts that manipulate what goes on in New Capenna. However, if you are dumb enough to break a contract, they are not beyond breaking you. There are no divinity counters or Exalted here. I believe we will see more board control and deck manipulation with the Brokers. But with green splashed in as a secondary, don’t be surprised if we see some trample dropped in for the enforcement of those contracts. That’s the diversity and versatile nature of these three colors together.

Another mechanic I see making a comeback in the near future is PROTECTION.

Eater of Virtue, a legendary artifact from the newest Kamigawa set, has a list of mechanics it can attain in the process of its exiling the creature who dies using it. And most are the usual suspects of things like indestructible, deathtouch, Vigilance and a host of others we see in every set. But smack down in the middle of all those is an odd addition. Protection is listed as one of those abilities this equipment can attain, but we haven’t seen much with protection in standard in a while (one here or there). I believe we’re due a good many as one of the big keywords in this set.

And, why not in The Streets of New Capenna? What smacks of gangster more than you having to pay for protection? But the odd thing about this mechanic is that it has a myriad of ways to appear on the cards. Unlike all of the other key word mechanics, Protection may read different every time you see it. But Eater of Virtue can absorb it in all of its vestiges. And it gives this mechanic the flexible nature that will make it easy to use in the new sets.

The Broker’s Charm brings in an interesting collection of abilities to choose from. Although the first one only gives a boost to power and only till end of turn, that creature deals damage equal to it’s power to a target creature OR planeswalker. You may also destroy a pesky enchantment or draw two cards WITHOUT discarding anything. Card advantage is always good.

But with the Selesnya green and white, there’s plenty of support for your creatures. Broker’s Ascendancy (first in a new set of ‘Ascendancy’ cards) is a powerful enchantment that ramps your creatures every turn +1/+1 and a loyalty counter for each planeswalker. Protection is for family first.


The Cabaretti family are the party animals of New Capenna. Quite literally! Led by a vampire cat, Jetmir, they put on the best parties and really know how to live life. A clear expression of the raucous nature of the age of gangsters, this family is very inclusive as long as you don’t spoil their good time. Descended from the druids of this world, they seem to have lost a bit of the connection of the nature of this plane.

From the judges card, STRANGLEHOLD

This family is represented by Red, Green and White, but central to their power if Green. NAYA is the color of the power of nature and monstrous creations. But this color combo also has the added mix of Gruul (red/green) and Selesnya (green/white). Expect the party to go wide and work well together.

In true NAYA tradition, the Cabaretti Charm can do damage equal to the large number of creatures you have and also give you ways to increase that width with tokens. And a surprise +1/+1 across the board with trample could definitely be a game ender.

As seen on the commander card for the Cabrettis, Jetmir, Nexus of Revels, the wider you go, the more damage you do. Adding vigilance, trample and deathstrike just adds insult to injury and adds up to a pure blitz against your opponent. Cannot wait to see more of the standard cards.


The Riveteers are the foundation, quite literally, of the whole city. They are the working man; the artisans. They build EVERYTHING. Represented by black, red and green, formerly known as Jund. But red is the central color and drives everything the Riveteers do.

JUND is about following instincts especially the feral, aggressive natures. This will be the AGGRO fuel for standard; crushing your opponent with an onslaught of fury and power. Big ‘beaters’ which is the hallmark of green combines with the ferocity of Gruul (green/red) and the lawn mower aspect of Rakdos (red/black). Either way you slice it, cruelty is the order of the day. Without white there is no empathy or order and without blue there is no deep thought. What we have left is a raw, unfiltered chaos that frees one to follow one’s heart and unleash both our animalistic instincts AND humanities darkest impulses. THAT is a dangerous combination.

The Riveteers Charm gives the options to either cause your opponent to sacrifice a creature OR Planeswalker of the highest mana value, Exile cards and play them OR exile an opponent’s whole graveyard!

Take resources away from your opponent or give yourself new ones. Building yourself up and tearing down your opponent. THIS is what we can expect out of the Riveteers.

We, at the Magic Tavern, are really looking forward to this set. Being bookended between the full on onslaught of Kamigawa’s return and the return of the most dominant plane in MTG, Dominaria, it probably is getting slept on. Big mistake. This set will reset our idea of what these color combinations are and can be; giving us so many new deck ideas to brew!

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